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A few years ago, the sensual savagery of Ted Hughes's Tales from Ovid won wide acclaim. Meanwhile, novels like David Malouf's An Imaginary Life and Jane Alison's The Love Artist have built their narratives on what little we know of Ovid's actual biography. In Malouf's book, Ovid finds and civilizes a feral child, in a clever reversal of the people-to-animal transformations of the Metamorphoses. Most recently, Mary Zimmerman's award-winning play Metamorphoses presents the work as a parable about the healing power of love.
By contrast, Alessandro Boffa's comic novel, You're An Animal, Viskovitz!, sees metamorphosis as a cosmic bad joke; the hero is figured as a different animal in each chapter. During his time as a snail, he acts out an undignified parody of the Narcissus myth; Viskovitz is attracted by his own reflection in water, but the consummation makes for one of the oddest sex scenes of recent years: "I felt the warm pressure of the rhinophor slipping under my shell, and a strong agitation froze the center of my being."(Leo Carey)
My research for a new book on the Elizabethans has made me all the more convinced of the centrality of translation to the flowering of English literature in that period... Especially welcome... [is] the Arthur Golding translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses... expertly edited by Madeleine Forey.
— Jonathan Bate
This is a very welcome publication of a major renaissance work, in a clear and well-organised edition, with a helpful critical introduction. It restores a widely-read work to its appropriate position as an affordable staple.
— Raphael Lyne
Posted January 11, 2011
No text was provided for this review.